Friday, September 04, 2015

Adapt your brewing to the tea

High Mountain Oolong
One of the great challenges of tea brewing is to obtain a cup that reflects the character of the leaves. Each tea necessitates this fine tuning of amount of leaves, which vessel, how to pour the boiling water, how long it should brew... Brewing parameters that work well with raw old arbor puerh won't work with Tie Guan Yin. This explains why it's hard to switch from a type of tea we brew often to one we brew seldom.

We encounter a similar problem when it's not the type of tea, but the age or the quality of the leaves that changes. This also requires some fine tuning. A better grade of tea often can be brewed longer without turning bitter. This means we can use fewer leaves and a longer brewing time. But the essential question to ponder is what is the character of the tea? What types of flavors do we expect in this tea? Fragrance or aftertaste, lightness or depth, freshness or aged scents? Are the leaves buds or mature or a mix? How strong is the roast?

I remember that when I first started to brew tea, before taking classes, all my fresh Oolongs tasted similar. It didn't matter if they came from lower altitude or high mountain, I always had a strong, but very rough taste of Oolong. I have now learned that with great tea, less is often more.
Shan Lin Xi Hung Shui Oolong
By the way, I would like to announce my Fall Specials: 20 high quality teas with nice discounts! Enjoy these good deals while inventories last.


Unknown said...

Hey stephanie thanks for sharing this experience. Since u have got the experience could u tell me how to brew the white tea to get the best experience of it :D. Heard very good stories about the white tea. i am only distracted by so many advies :(

looking forward to hear form you

TeaMasters said...

Hi George,
White tea is unoxidized and made of buds. The higher the grade(quality), the higher the temperature you should use. Few leaves to water ratio. Pour very gently, but not too slow. The first 2 brews shouldn't be too long.
Adjust depending on what you feel.

LL said...

Very good article. It is one of the basic principle but we forget about it very often. But sometimes it can be long way to find the right combination of time, water temperature and amount of tea.